TLC’s biopic, Crazy, Sexy, Cool had one of the most controversial castings. Although the original members saw the vision, most of the world was skeptical and believed they made three wrong choices. However once Lil Mama, Keke Palmer, and Drew Sidora promo pictures surfaced everyone was pleased. And we have hairstylist Shunika Terry to thank.
”I was like I think we can show them better than we can tell them and the world will be impressed, because I totally saw it,” says Shunika.
Vixen got the chance to pick her brain about recreating the group’s iconic look and her inspiration. Jump the page to learn more about the women behind the scenes.
VIBE Vixen: How did you get connected with the TLC Biopic?
Shunnika: The producers. I was the department head and the producers from top films on Single Ladies season 2, and they asked me if I was available to do the project and of course I said yes. It worked out perfectly because I wasn’t working on anything at that time. I had just finished up my show so, I was in between shows and it just worked out.
Photo Credit: VH1
There was a little bit of controversy in terms of the girls not looking like the actual TLC, did you ever worrying if their hair styles would be an issue on the screen?
Not really because when you’re portraying someone else a lot of times they don’t look exactly like the person that we’re trying to create. I was very confident in creating the looks for the girls. I had already worked with Keke in the past so I had already had a plan of attack for her look. With Lil Mama, when I met her she was totally blonde and of course she has those very light eyes. When I checked out her hair and put my hands through it and combed it out it worked out that her natural length was just like Left Eye’s. Drew Sidora has a nice amount of hair. I braided up the top of her hair, because we had a lot of different types of hair because T-Boz had all those different types of haircuts and hair colors.
Who was the hardest person to transform?
I can definitely say the most thought out hairstyle was Chili.
Out of the three she wore the simplest styles but we had to make sure that texture was right to play up Chili’s texture. I didn’t want Keke to wear a wig or lace fronts. It makes a difference to pull off realness.
So, how did you get the baby hair?
That’s all Keke’s baby hair. Of course you know she’s had some extension put in and we used a nice little technique. The front was pulled back into a ponytail, that’s all of Keke’s hair. I felt that it just wouldn’t feel real to put on a lacefront for baby hair. I’m very protective on edges you know the front of people’s hair so I didn’t want to apply the adhesive for the lacefront, especially when I know that she has the hair to mimic Chili’s hair. We went through three different era’s in one day. It’s really crazy we could be shooting one day, in the morning 2011 and a couple of hours later we’re shooting 1993.
Wow! How many overall looks did you do for them?
Keke probably had about three or four looks. If you think about it, when you first met Chili with the group it was the long hair and it was either straight sometimes or wavy it was either with the bandana on or half up and half down. Then we step up Drew, who played T-Boz. I had about nine different wigs for her. I remember prepping those wigs for her and adding blonde and adding roots you know just to make it believable and the cuts on them. I mean it was days when I probably had a six am call time but I was up until 3:30 am.
So Drew wore half wigs for TBoz?
Yes they were almost like a toupee. I had a group of wigs they were lacefront wigs but I didn’t use them like lacefront wigs. What I did was just cut the back of them of and blended in her hair with the back of them. She allowed me to cut her hair in the back I had tapered that down so you know she had a short haircut. I thank Drew Sidora for getting into her character and going there. A lot of actress are like no, no, no, but what she did was took herself out of Drew and put her self into TBoz and that’s what make s good actress.
Which one do you think represented their character the best after the transformations?
I can honestly say they all really pulled it off well. I did see a huge transformation with Keke, but she was sort of wearing that kind of look already.
Let’s talk a bit about you; how did you get started in films and TV?
It was God. He took me from salons to film and TV. I met a makeup artist in Dallas and she would do photo shoots for a local magazine so I would do hair. She got hired for her first movie. It was called Kings of the Evening with Tyson Beckford and Glen Herman. During that time I developed a relationship with Lynne Whitfield and she took me on as her personal hair stylist from that movie and did Mama I Wanna Sing with Ciara. And when she did that film it was my second film and I gained a whole idea about doing anything from having proper set etiquette.
I was a sponge and I knew to ask questions, because here I am blessed with this opportunity. From there it just became a word of mouth thing. People in Louisiana would say I know this girl from Dallas you can hit her up and from there I joined the Union 798 for hair and makeup artist. Once I moved to Atlanta that’s when things blew up for me. And I’ve been on the fast track ever since.
Out of all of the things you’ve done which one was the most rewarding?
The TLC Biopic. It was a lot of heart put into it so much research, creativity, blood, sweat, and tears. I’m also proud of Kings of the Evening, my first film that I worked on. That was a beautiful movie because it stood for something. Joyful Noise was also a sweet movie, but those two I really enjoyed doing the biopic and the true story it’s a different type of connection you have with the film.
It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.
Yeah we did and one big thing I forgot to mention. Getting the girls into the feel of it while I was doing their hair. We played each video in the movie on my laptop so that I could recreate the look exactly how it was in the video. I would play it like 50 times and that would get them in the mood too. It helped them as an actor and me as a hairstylist to make sure we were in the same mood.